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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Because we need a little Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

T'was the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, other than me in my blouse.

Christmas 2016.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In the hopes that they would fit one ginormous polar bear.

Coco Kitty opening her presents.

On Christmas morning, Lauren always helps the pets open their presents before opening her own. Kitty Coconut received a little set of breakfast themed toys shaped like toast, bacon and an egg.

 Coco loves her bacon!

One of the highlights of Christmas morning was watching Coco play with her bacon. That kitty really loves her bacon!

 Kitty with her bacon.




Lauren opening presents.

Then it was Lauren's turn. Don't be fooled by the fact that she is fully dressed for the day. These events did indeed take place at around six o'clock in the morning.

 Wow, sheet music!

Wait, what's this?

 Taylor Swift for clarinet!

YES!!! Taylor Swift sheet music for the clarinet!

Tearing through the gifts.

And the opening continued on...

Happy girl.

...and on...

Christmas wishes do come true!

...and on. Until Lauren's Christmas wish came true in the form of an XBox One.

Family room Christmas morning.

Then it was our turn to open our presents. We had to put them on the chairs because they are not permitted under "Lauren's Tree." I didn't take any photos of us opening because I was the only one still wearing my pajamas like a normal person, and therefore not photo ready. Mark got some socks with chickens on them, a book about tree houses, a new cel phone, a toaster, and some shirts. I got a pillow with a cat on it, pajamas, a few tops including a Francisco Cervelli t-shirt, a throw, vintage Christmas ornaments, and some coloring books.

 But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and I hope the polar bear doesn't bite!”

Christmas crafting is not dead.

Santa jars.

Back in the olden days, I used to craft for Christmas, making gifts and decorations for presents. As the years passed, the time available to prepare for Christmas just got shorter and shorter in supply, and crafting was one of the casualties. But Lauren brought back the tradition this year by making these cute jars to give out as gifts.

Snowman jars.

Elf jars.

This idea was brought to you by the magic of Pintrest and this link.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Holly and the Ivy.

 Holly and Ivy.

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.
The rising of the sun
And the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

Earlier this week, we decided it was time to fill the void in our chicken coop, so we traveled to a Freehling Farms, which is located somewhere in the middle of Kittanning, so we could pick out a couple of new residents. Out of the hundreds of chicks to choose from, these two won the lottery. Meet Holly and Ivy.

 Hanging out on our farmer's lap.

Holly is the one wearing the leg warmers. She's a cochin. Ivy is a blue laced red wyandotte. Ivy is the feisty one. Mark thinks that she may turn out to be a rooster because she's always standing straight and tall. Holly, on the other hand, is very mellow.

 Just another ornament. Nothing to see here.

She likes to roost on anything and everything. 

Chick Kringle.

And she didn't even mind wearing a hat!

And to all a good night.

Did I mention that she's really mellow?

In everything, give thanks.


Last week, we celebrated an extended Thanksgiving. We packed three full days with gratitude, family and fun.

Turkey time.

It's typical on Thanksgiving to be thankful for having food on the table. This year we had an unusually big turkey for our feast - 20 pounds to be exact. We were particularly thankful for this turkey, not because of its size, but because it represented that we were having a BIG FAMILY Thanksgiving, as our cousins Nick and Noreen were coming to join us!

As a side note, there was some concern that the turkey was going to be to big for the roaster. Thankfully, it fit.


We are thankful for social media, for without it, we would not know that we could craft a turkey from pepperoni, cheese and crackers.

On the road.

We are thankful that we were able to avoid all the Black Friday shoppers because we have a city that's filled with history, culture and pretty things to admire, and not just Wal-Marts. Here's Lauren learning how to drive on a Model T in the car and carriage museum at The Frick.

Phipps Conservatory Winter Flower Show.

Later that evening, we went to the Winter Flower Show and Light Garden at Phipps Conservatory.

Phipps Conservatory Winter Flower Show.

Phipps Conservatory Light 

Noreen, Lauren and Me.

 Us with our Michigan family.

 Football trash talk.

We're thankful for football, even if it involves a little trash talking.


 My Family take 2.
And of course, we are most thankful for family, even though they will likely hate these photos.